Are you a Drugged Driver?

14 Aug 2014 Comments
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With the passage of more indulgent marijuana laws comes the increase in DUI drug convictions.  Some states have completely decriminalized marijuana allowing for recreational use and many others allow for medicinal use.  This permissive stance does not give the consumer the right to drive while high.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports the use of any psychoactive (mind-altering) drug makes it highly unsafe to drive a car and is illegal. (Drugged Driving – November 2013).  This is not limited to prescription or illicit drugs.  It is unlawful to drive after taking over-the-counter medications which cause drowsiness, dizziness or other impairments.

In 2013, Colorado enacted the “stoned driving bill.”  This comes nearly a year after the State legalized recreational marijuana use.  This idea is quite controversial since it is difficult to determine what amount of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) would indicate impairment.  THC has been known to remain detectable in a persons’ system by blood testing for as long as six months.  Colorado law sets the limit at 5 nanograms or more per milliliter (ngml).  Compares this to alcohol; measured at 8ngml (or breath alcohol at .08%).   (source)

Washington set the THC limit at 5 ngmlwhen they approved the recreational use of marijuana.  According to the Associated Press, there were 745 drivers who tested positive for THC in the first six months of 2013.  Typically, this number is about 1,000 for an entire year.  While the overall DUI arrests remain comparable to previous years, it is assumed by the Washington State Patrol that some drivers are trading in their alcohol for marijuana.  Interestingly, the Patrol reported that although 745 tested positive there were 420 who were above the legal limit.

This article is focusing mostly on marijuana, but it is vital to note that any drug use in California can result in a DUI conviction.  The California DMV Handbookreads, “The use of any drug (the law does not distinguish between prescription, over-the-counter, or illegal drugs) which impairs your ability to drive safely is illegal.”  The handbook gives some examples, such as allergy and cough medications.  DMV emphasizes that it is your responsibility to know the effects of the medications you take.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2007 National Roadside survey, more than 16% of weekend, nighttime drivers tested positive for illegal, prescription or over-the-counter drugs.  More than 11% had tested positive for illicit drugs.  In the NHTSA 2010 report on Drug involvement of Fatally Injured Drivers: Drug Test Results for Fatally Injured Drivers, by State, 2009 23% in California tested positive for drugs.

Attention on drugged driving has gained momentum in recent years.  However, the Department of Transportation has focused on preventing this dangerous behavior since 1991 with the passing of the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act, requiring DOT Agencies to implement drug & alcohol testing of safety-sensitive transportation employees.  If any employee test is positive (or non-negative) a stand down order is issued and that employee must be assessed by a DOT Qualified Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).  The employee then must meet all recommendations of the SAP before being considered for return to duty in a safety-sensitive duty by any employer.

DUI is not an event which is carried out by just addicts or alcoholics.  Anyonecan make the misjudgmentof driving after drinking over the legal limit (.08) or when using legitimate over-the-counter or prescription medications.   This doesnot always make for poorcharacter. Good people getDUI’s.Driving under the influence of any mind or mood altering substance puts oneself and others at risk and should be avoided.

Why Parents are Critical in Reducing Teen Crashes.

11 Aug 2014 Comments
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According to an analysis of car crashes by AAA, the 100 deadliest days for teens are between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Parents are the greatest influence on teen driving behavior so it is important for them to help teens to develop the complex skills involved in becoming a safe driver.

Inexperience and distractions were identified as primary causes in 800 serious crashes studied by the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). They found that 76% of the crashes were due to critical teen driver error and nearly half of the crashes were caused by three common errors: not “scanning” enough to recognize hazards; driving too fast for road conditions; or being distracted by things inside or outside of the car.

This data shows that successfully passing the DMV driving test does not automatically mean that a new driver has the experience needed to process and respond safely in complex driving situations. Teens need more than 6 hours of drivers training and 50 hours of supervised driving, which are the minimum requirements for a 16-year-old to get a driver’s license. Parents can reduce crashes by helping novice drivers practice new skills so they gradually earn independence as they demonstrate their ability to drive safely in adverse weather, traffic and road conditions.

Research by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention showed that driving simulators reduce crashes involving novice teen drivers by 66%. Built like a car, these simulators provide realistic interactive “behind the wheel” experience to reinforce scanning, speed control and defensive driving skills. They can also help teens understand the effects of distracted driving and driving under the influence so they will avoid unsafe driving decisions. In California, Safety Center’s FOCUSimulator for teen drivers and information is available at www.safetycenter.org

Distracted driving has become a significant factor in teen car crashes due to the prevalence of cell phone use by this age group. Texting is even more dangerous because the car can travel the length of a football field before the driver becomes aware of what is going on around them. Teen drivers need to give their full attention to driving in order to avoid the risks caused by inexperience and distractions. As role models, parents can demonstrate safe driving habits and responsible behavior including avoiding the use of cell phones while driving.

Several studies by CHOP show that teens are in fewer crashes when parents control access to their car, ask questions and create a supportive environment where teens can earn driving privileges. Parents hold the keys to helping teens gain experience and to developing driving strategies that will keep young people in our community safe on the roads this summer.

For more information about the Teen Safe Driving Programs CLICK HERE

Fall Protection Is Serious Business

01 Aug 2014 Comments
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As the country continues its economic recovery and construction businesses enter their peak season, we should be reminded  that construction is the deadliest industry in the country. Falls are consistently the top cause of fatalities in the construction industry, accounting for 269 fatalities in the US in 2012 alone. And for the third year in a row, OSHA’s Fall Protection standard was the agency’s most frequently cited standard.

In addition to the horrific injuries and deaths falls cause, OSHA estimates that each fall from an elevated position in construction (both fatal and nonfatal) costs between $50,000 and $106,000. These costs include: citations, work stoppage, lost wages, workers compensation, and medical costs. With fatal falls at California construction sites seeing a peak this summer, Cal/OSHA has deployed investigators to construction sites throughout the state “to determine whether adequate measures have been taken to identify safety hazards and prevent injury.”

How Can Falls Be Prevented?

In addition to proper education and equipment, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) tackles this issue with a new publication that urges fall hazards are addressed during the design stages of a project (Prevention through Design) not just during construction or work. According to NIOSH, the recommended hierarchy of controls for fall protection is as follows:

– This can be done by either adopting a building design involving a single level at grade rather than multiple levels at elevations or by using parapet walls, permanent guardrails, and other features to separate workers from fall hazards.

– Provide a fall restraint system. This involves securing the worker via an anchor point, connector, lanyard, and body harness to prevent the worker from reaching the fall hazard.

– Install a fall arrest system. This involves using an anchor point, connectors, lanyards, and body harnesses, but allows exposure to the fall hazard and is designed to stop a fall after it has begun.

Working from heights is inherently dangerous, but protecting workers from falls is feasible and effective. Don’t let your company become another statistic!

To enroll in an upcoming Fall Protection Course at our Northern or Southern California Campuses Click Here.

What’s the Correct Pace for Workplace Safety

31 Jul 2014 Comments
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By Bob Lapidus, CSP, CSMS

One of the most common admonishments in the field of safety is to take it slow. Stop being in a hurry and you will have less chance of getting hurt. I have believed in that thinking for many years.

But today I do not know if it is always true.

I think most things in life have a safe pace and it is our job to learn what that pace is for each activity we do. Some things need to be taken slow or even slower. Other activities might naturally move faster because there is much to be done, and we cannot waste time.

Think about an assembly line. It moves at a pace to get the product finished in an efficient, productive, and safe manner. Too slow and not enough product may be produced. Too fast and the product might be damaged or employees could be injured.

Think about a craftsman. Oftentimes, the work is performed meticulously, at a sufficient pace to achieve artistic excellence, to create a masterpiece.

Oftentimes, the more experience we have in doing a given task, the faster that task can be accomplished because we become more proficient.

Pace can mean the rate at which something is done or the tempo of a given activity. Each song has its own optimal pace. Sung too fast and it becomes meaningless. Sung too slow and it becomes boring.

A friend of mine was an insurance company claims adjuster. She worked diligently with all involved parties to achieve optimal and accurate outcomes. It took intense research and coordination to achieve successful results, and that is what she achieved. On the other hand, the company had a quota system that wanted quantity rather than quality. They wanted her to speed through the process. The number of claims completed was the goal. She never did achieve what they wanted.

Our job is to learn the most productive, efficient and safe pace of each task that is completed within our work environments. The task will be completed in a manner best suited for the situation.

 

For More Information:
To become part of discussions on topics like the one above, go to www.safetycenter.org to obtain information about Safety Center’s Safety Management Specialist Certificate.

After completing this nine-day program, graduates may take the exam to achieve the Certified Safety Management Specialist (CSMS) designation.  Once this certification is achieved, successful candidates keep it for the rest of their lives without any additional requirements or fees.

DUI Programs are Treatment, not School!

25 Jul 2014 Comments
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You have probably heard the term, “DUI School.” DUI Programs in California are not schools, they are treatment programs. A schools primary focus is on education, instilling knowledge. Take for example, traffic school; designed only to educate the participant in traffic regulations.
Sheldon Zhang, Professor of Sociology at San Diego State University, states that schools educate by providing certain types of knowledge, individuals accumulate information that may increase their understanding or insight into certain aspects of human life or societal issues.Such knowledge gain is not required to produce or lead to any specific behavioral changes.While there are expectations what our students should or ought to become in the future, whether they will meet such expectations are typically not the concern of the educators.

Zhang points out four key points that DUI programs are a treatment more than just education.

1. These programs have a clear intention to exert influence over behavioral changes–to bring about changes.

2. Most, if not all, programs are cognitive-behavioral in orientation–focusing on identifying problematic thinking patterns and habits and recognition of risk behaviors or coping mechanisms so that ideal or “proper” response behavior can be formed.

3. Engage in activities (group and individual or peer counseling) that are main stake in mental health treatment community.

4. Clients are sanctioned into the programs for reasons of conduct/behavioral problems (not for lack of knowledge).

Zhang has closely reviewed the Safety Center DUI Program Curriculum and has observed its implementation in San Diego County. He states, “ [Safety Center Curriculum] follows the mainstream Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach commonly found in counseling psychology, which emphasizes the recognition and awareness of one’s substance use problems and following specific prescriptions of behavioral modifications that aim at recognizing stress-provoking events and coping skills.”

The Safety Center Curriculum reflects the cumulative clinical experiences and practical knowledge over the decades from its counselors and clinical supervisors. Zhang further states it should be pointed out that the Safety Center curriculum and clinical practices have been consistently applied across all its DUI program sites in three counties (Sacramento, Stanislaus, and Yolo) as well as the PC-1000 program in Stanislaus County to achieve consistency in the intervention approach. The curriculum has also gained wider acceptance by other DUI program providers in California and other states.

For more information about the Safety Center Drug & Alcohol Programs CLICK HERE

7 Tips for Family Bike Safety

17 Jul 2014 Comments
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The arrival of warmer weather and sunnier days means families can escape from indoor activities and head out on adventures beyond the front lawn. The benefits of being an active family are endless and we think bike riding is the perfect activity to get everyone moving. But before you and the kids rush out and start pedaling, there’s an important factor that you need to consider — safety. Here are a few tips to make sure every ride is the safest ride:

1. Protect the noggin – a helmet is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes. Helmet Fit Test.

2. Adjust bicycle to fit – when a child is straddling the bike both feet should be flat on the ground and there should be 1 to 3 inches of space between the child and the top bar.

3. Do the ABC Quick Check – Air, Brakes, Crank & Chain. It’s important to do a bike maintenance check whether it’s been a day or nine months since your last ride.

4. Be Bright, Use Lights – When riding at dusk, dawn or in the evening, be bright and use lights. Also fluorescent, reflective or bright-colored clothes will help kids be visible on the road

5. Road Rules- If you allow your kids to ride on the street, be sure to go over the rules of the road: obey all traffic laws, including stoplights, signs, signals and lane markings, yield to pedestrians, ride your bicycle in the same direction as traffic and signal when you make turns.

6. Choose your path- Avoid hills and find bike routes that will make cycling fun for everyone. With kids, it’s often safer to keep to a bike trail than to head onto busy streets.

7. Making Safety a Family Affair– One of the best ways to help kids learn safe bike riding is to set a good example by following the rules of the road yourself. Go for bike rides with your kids so you can show them what safe riding looks like.

Not ready for an adventure on the road just yet? Then join us at Safetyville for Free Family Bike Night! Kiddos of all shapes, sizes, and abilities are welcome to cruise the 3 1/2 acre miniature city on their two-wheelers, trikes, push bikes, and scooters. Bike Nights are held on Thursday & Fridays from 5:30-8:00pm, with a nightly safety clinic at 6:30. For more information Call (916) 438-3380 or Email Mark.

Teen-to-Teen Safe Driving Campaign

14 Jul 2014 Comments
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The Allstate Foundation and Safety Center expanded its California Teen-to-Teen Safe Driving Campaign contest into the Central Valley and first place winners for 2014 were Escalon, Manteca and Ronald E. McNair high schools. Schools from Stockton to Fresno entered the contest and youth leaders created positive campaigns to strengthen beliefs about teen safe driving behavior as the socially accepted norm. Campaigns include creating a positive message and engaging students in activities to reinforce safe driving decisions. Pre- and post-campaign surveys measured the overall effectiveness of using the power of peer influence to produce positive outcomes.

McNair earned a 2014 Campaign Winner banner by accumulating the most points for student participation and reaching out to parents and the community with their safe driving message. Students started the month-long campaign with a t-shirt/storyboard competition and passing out anti-texting stickers. On social media, youth used Hash tag, #MIND2014 (McNair Informing New Drivers), and posted pictures of campaign activities. Student groups created a texting slogan on the school fence using solo cups and held up signs in a rally attended by Stockton mayor, Anthony Silva, and covered by the Stockton Record. A skit at the Spring Rally, daily video PSA announcements and a pledge activity helped teens deliver positive messages related to distracted driving. An email to parents and guardians described the event and reinforced the importance of safe driving behavior. Prior to the campaign, 67% of students surveyed admitted to driving distracted and in a post-campaign survey, 6% said they still engaged in this unsafe behavior and they pledged change.

This campaign was a success because students at McNair were empowered to create positive peer-to-peer teen safe messages and they produced significant results. Youth have a powerful voice and they can be effective as advocates for values that support traffic safety in their schools, their families and in the community.

For more information about the Teen Safe Driving Programs CLICK HERE